tv Dateline NBC NBC September 30, 2013 2:00am-3:01am PDT
gasping for air. oh, my god! >> she started telling me about a young man coming into their home and shooting keith. my first concern was, how are we going to find him? >> a big mystery in a small town. a fire chief murdered. his wife, the only witness. >> she was panicking. she was crying and frantic. >> this detective knew them both. her job now, solve this crime. and clue number one was a doozy. >> she said that after he shot keith he turned to her and said, you know, i'm somery, ma'am. >> i'm sorry? a killer who apologized?
and that was just the start. a gun stashed in the dryer. a man's glove, but whose dna? and a woman with a whole lot to reveal. >> no, no, no. don't take it off. >> she tossed her top to me. >> she just lifted it off? >> i was shocked. >> what would come next? >> do you feel if she realized some of her secrets were going to be exposed? >> mystery in mustang. here's andrea canning. >> reporter: just about 20 miles southwest of downtown oklahoma city, a town called mustang. once farmers and ranchers and the land and it's bigger now but folks still hold tight to their roots. >> pretty quiet community for the most part. >> reporter: faith connects community here and people stay lifelong friends. >> it is a small town feel. very much neighbors helping neighbors. >> reporter: in a place like
mustang, neighbors know almost there is to know about each other, for better or worse. >> 911, state your emergency. >> reporter: when the unthinkable happened, it would be all the more startling when the secrets came tumbling out. >> i heard a lot of things that shocked me that i never would have imagined. >> reporter: had evil invaded mustang? >> i'm in mustang, america. who would [ bleep ] do that. >> reporter: or come from within? >> it created a lot of fear for a lot of people. >> it was my first real w whodunnit. >> reporter: keith ryan was oklahoman to the core, proudly raised in the sooner state. he married his wife becky at 18 and stetettled in mustang. she rolled out the carpet for
when they moved to town. they had two boys, trent and kent. >> becky was a good mom, from what i could tell. she was a good mom. >> reporter: keith worked as a fireman, his dream job in the well to do city of enclave. terry hamilton served alongside keith. they were like sisters, said terry's wife, kim. >> in the fire department, you were all families. >> keith had a good sense of humor. he was out going. and he was really dri ven to succeed. >> reporter: and he did, promoted all of the way to fire chief in 1991. but keith never lost his personal connection with the people he served. >> he was one of the first responders of the oklahoma city bombing. >> he was. >> reporter: his bravery made headlines. >> that's when you worked on that lady that was trapped forever underneath the rubble. keith wouldn't leave her. >> is he a hero in your eyes?
>> oh, i think so. i was pretty proud of him as a friend for that. >> reporter: as for becky, she was a force in the community, too, working in real estate. her business often seemed more about the people than the money. >> becky had a very selfless side to her, too. there were people that i know of, if they were upside-down, she even at times was known to take her own money to closing and help like that. >> reporter: keith was elected city councilman in mustang. becky's business was thriving. and their marriage, an example to these. >> she and keith did some premarital counseling for several years in our church. >> so they were counseling other couples on -- >> they were counseling other couples on how to have a good marriage. >> reporter: it came as a surprise in 2010 keith and becky hit a rough patch. the boys were grown and the empty nestor nesters.
keith moved out. >> he said he wanted to know how could he change to show that love to her in a greater way? >> what advice did you give keith? >> i told him to talk to her about it, that she was sensible. >> reporter: keith worked hard to win becky back, with gifts and dates and loving notes. becky came home. >> he was telling so people that what all he had been through was worth it because it had made him even that much better of a husband. >> reporter: in the year that followed, keith kept up his campaign of romance. september 20th, 2011, was no different. becky was at a real estate conference in tulsa. keith texted her sweet messages throughout the day. becky arrived home around 8:30 p.m. a friend came over to chat. keith, now ever attentive, made them criesed tea. after the friend left, becky says she and keith settled down
in front of the tv. on the bill that night, keith's choice, a classic scary movie, "carrie." then came the real horror. >> 911, state your emergency. >> reporter: it was becky. >> a young man about 25 years old. >> reporter: then the phone call. what was she saying? dispatchers sent police to the house. >> headquarters to available -- >> reporter: becky called back. >> i just called 911 on my cellphone. are you coming to my house? >> reporter: she said an intruder shot keith in the head. >> my husband is laying here bleeding on my couch right now. >> reporter: and the intruder was getting away. >> oh, my god. he's -- he's in a little it by at this time by pickup. okay? he's going down my street. it's like a dark color. >> reporter: now the brave fire chief who dedicated his life to saving others was in urgent need of help himself. >> okay. i except to go. >> stay on the line with me.
>> reporter: ems and police sped to the brian house but the question came just as fast, who was the shooter, this intruder on the loose, and could he be found? an unfamiliar feeling spread through mustang, fear. coming up, a detective is on the case and she's about to hear something odd from becky brian. >> after he shot keith he turned to her and said, you know, i'm sorry, ma'am. >> a gunman who apologizes? what kind of intruder was that? >> my first concern was how are we going to find him? could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. mmmhmmm...everybody knows that. well, did you know that old macdonald was a really bad speller? your word is...cow. cow. cow. c...o...w...
oh, my god. oh, my god. i'm in mustang, america. who would [bleep] do that? >> word went out a brazen intruder had shot fire chief keith bryan in his own home and within minutes, first responders swarmed the house, securing it as a crime scene. as keith was rushed to the hospital, his wife becky stayed behind. detectives were on their way, and she spoke to her brother david on the phone. >> she was crying and frantic. i said, settle down, it will be okay, who is with you. her son was there. >> gina hickman, a friend of the family, rushed over to the bryan. >> i went over, hugged her, said how sorry i was, that god would get us through this. she said, i'm sorry, i know he was your friend, too.
>> the deputy chief reached becky on her cell. >> i told her not to worry. they'll do a full investigation and they'll find -- they'll figure out who did it. >> at the house, becky was on the rear patio, on the phone with friends and family repeating the story of the armed intruder. >> we were sitting in an open lot around the patio and i was fearful that they might come back. >> you thought right at that moment that this person she described could come back? >> yes, i did. >> we hadn't had anything like that happen before. >> tammy mcneil, a detective with the mustang police department, was dispatched to the bryan house that night. and mustang, being mustang, the victim and his wife were no strangers to the detectives. >> what's your reaction when you hear it was keith? >> it was concerning to me because i knew this family. >> becky seemed relieved to see a familiar face.
>> she called out my name and asked me to come sit by her on the back porch. and then she started telling me about a young man, approximately 25 years old, coming into their home and shooting keith in the head. >> and what did that young man say, according to becky? >> she said after he shot keith he turned to her and said, you know, i'm sorry, ma'am, that he should have [bleep] hired me. >> it seemed like a key detail, this apparent apology and explanation. becky had also recounted it to 911 dispatchers. >> he said ma'am, i'm so sorry, he said, but your husband should have hired me. >> do you have a gut reaction about that story? >> it was concerning to me because we are a small community. my first concern was, you know, is there somebody out there, where is he and how are we going to find him. >> becky described the shooter
as a man in his 20s with a big nose, and wearing a hoodie. >> i was trying to get as much information to other law enforcement agencies as well as our officers to start looking for him. >> reporter: was it possible keith knew the man? keith was in no condition to help investigators, but at the hospital, hopeful news. he was clinging to life. >> i told her, i said, he is going to surgery. she said really? >> reporter: keith made it through surgery, still in terrible shape, but alive in the icu. when becky arrived, the halls of the hospital were filled with friends, loved ones, and keith's firefighter brothers. it seemed half the town of mustang was there praying for keith. >> how hard was it for you to see keith in that condition? >> it was very, very hard. you know, i would tell myself, you never know, heard so many stories of people having head
injuries. and i know prayer is so powerful, and i know he had so many people praying. >> first thing that happens when you see becky in the hospital? >> we come up and hug each other. and she's crying. i mean, she started crying immediately when i grabbed her. she says, what am i going to do? what are we going to do? >> reporter: by morning, it was clear, keith would not pull through. those closest to him sensed it was time to say their goodbyes. >> what did you say to him? >> just -- i said, you didn't deserve this, and i love you, good-bye. that was it. >> reporter: at keith's bedside, becky, keith's wife of 33 years wept, and as keith slipped away,
along with the sorrow was the lost hope that he could shed any light on who had done this to him. no one believed keith bryan had an enemy in the world. so as the search for the apologetic intruder got under way, one clue was as simple as the victim's name. coming up. >> there was a theory out there that perhaps this intruder was looking for a different fireman. >> would the killer have shot the wrong man? when "dateline" continues.
>> i think that it was just such a shock, such a huge event and such a tragedy on so many levels. >> at the fire house keith led in nichols hills near mustang, captain roger strayka couldn't believe it. >> you have that feeling that's all exploding now, don't know what happened. >> must be such a weird thing to hear. >> it was, over the fire service years, you get calloused over, hide your feelings. when it hits close to home, you ask yourself why. >> detective cammy mcneil was no rookie, but this was the first case of its kind she had ever seen in mustang. >> that was my first real whodunnit homicide case. >> what significance does that have for you? >> it was very significant. i was nervous. i wanted to, of course, do a good job and make sure the right person went to jail for that crime.
>> reporter: to find that person detectives needed to comb through every detail of becky's eyewitness account. mcneil and an agent from the oklahoma state bureau of investigation interviewed her again at the hospital the night of the shooting. >> time is 1:23 a.m. in the morning. what's your first name? >> becky bryan. >> reporter: becky talked about how close she and keith were especially after they made it through that rough patch. >> we were quite in love. i didn't even know he loved me until i filed for divorce. it really came into play. >> reporter: investigators went over step by step how the shooting went down. >> what are you looking for when you go into that conference room to interview becky? >> how does this person know keith, can she describe him better, you know, things like that. >> and the door opened, and we were watching a loud movie, "carrie" and this young kid about 25 years old walks into
the house and comes over to the carpet, and my husband didn't even have time to turn around. i looked just in time to see and then he come up from here and he shot him in the head right here. >> point blank. >> point blank, right here. >> reporter: it was then becky said that the shooter turned and spoke. >> it was unbelievable, the guy, this is what he said, he was actually pretty nice, i knew he wasn't going to hurt me. he said, i'm sorry, ma'am, but he should have [bleep] hired me. >> so a polite shooter. >> yes, she did describe him that way, yes. >> reporter: there it was again. that odd but clearly important detail, along with his polite apology, the shooter seemed to give away a motive. was he someone vying for a job in keith's fire department? keith's deputy, terry hamilton, didn't think so.
>> i never was concerned about that. >> why not? >> for one thing, it had been four years since we had hired anybody, so nobody is going to sit and stew for four years and then all of a sudden get mad and shoot the guy that didn't hire him. >> but if the shooter wasn't angry over a job in keith's fire department, there was another possibility, one that neighbors of the bryans wondered about. keith often did projects on the house. was the killer someone who wanted a construction job and didn't get it? one neighbor told police that a few weeks earlier a stranger had been driving around asking for work as a handyman. he said the man had a funny face and drove an old pickup truck. he also remembered seeing a similar truck the night of the shooting. >> are you interviewing neighbors? are you asking people if they saw anyone suspicious in the neighborhood, if they saw a truck in the neighborhood? >> yes, all of that was going on. >> what were they yielding, anything? >> very little.
very little. >> reporter: then among the firefighters and their wives, a third entirely different idea was bandied about. no one is sure who said it first, but soon some were wondering out loud if keith hadn't been the intended target at all. >> there was a theory out there that perhaps this intruder was looking for a different fireman. >> and why would anyone think that? not far from the bryans' home in mustang lived the oklahoma city fire chief, his name keith bryant. bryan with a "t" at the end. >> the whole keith bryant theory, that maybe they got the wrong fire chief? >> you know, that did not occur to me until i got to the hospital and that's the first time somebody brought up maybe mistaken identity. >> the buzz reached roger back at the fire house. >> that story did come out that
possibly the person that done this got the wrong chief. it could have been anyone's theory as to what had happened. >> reporter: surely the oklahoma city chief hired and fired many more people than keith did. had the shooter been angry with him? a friend reached him by phone. he was safe and sound at a conference on the east coast the night of the shooting, but there were problems with the mistaken identity theory. the two chiefs didn't look much alike, and the more keith's firemen brothers thought it over, the less likely it seemed. >> i still didn't think that story made sense. >> too far fetched? >> yeah. it is real competitive to get hired on as a firefighter. i just can't see somebody not getting hired and then killing the fire chief. and the oklahoma city fire department, i don't think the fire chief really even has anything to do with the hiring process. >> reporter: so around mustang the questions were many, the answers few. people were watchful, certainly
less at ease. >> i found myself wanting to close blinds early. >> did you have a moment of panic? >> a little bit, yeah. it was a little eery for a day or two, not knowing what was going on. >> reporter: while those around mustang wondered who and where the invader was, investigators had found something at the crime scene. it would turn fear and suspicion right around. coming up. another key turn in the case. police question a witness who has a whole lot to reveal. >> no, no, no. >> she tossed her top to me. >> she just whipped it off? >> i was shocked.
and the night keith was killed. janna hickman, who had rushed to the bryans' home that night, was there with becky and heard her say this after the crime. >> i heard her say something about it would be hard to sell the house because he died in the house. >> did that sound callous to you? >> being a realtor, i could see her thinking about that. it was a little odd i thought. >> at the hospital, some friends noticed that becky was agitated one minute, eerily calm the next. >> she wasn't emotional, she was pretty calm, talking to different people. >> whenever we met her, she was very calm. >> too calm? >> i anticipated her needing comfort, and i went to hug her and she just kind of held her arms down straight and didn't seem to need that type of consoling.
>> reporter: and instead of sticking close to keith's bedside in his last hours, they thought it was strange becky was outside. >> she was sitting with her legs crossed on the bench, out with her friends, smoking, just very casual. it was just completely bizarre. >> reporter: becky's brother david says he knows his sister best and what the friends saw was just becky's way of coping. >> in your eyes, was becky acting exactly the way a wife would act after a random senseless shooting? >> becky acted just like becky would act if someone come in and shot her husband and she was there. she was panicking, didn't know what to do. she was doing anything to get control of her emotions. our upbringing was, control your emotions. >> was becky known for just saying inappropriate things? >> stupid. yeah.
i mean, becky wanted to control -- she did not want to cry. she did not want to be out of control for herself. >> reporter: but becky's friends were not the only people who found her behavior odd that night. he details were full of jarring moments. for example, after telling police how much she loved keith, she had this to say about her fatally injured husband. >> i bought a condo, moved out, and he -- he is a [bleep] for 31 years. >> she described keith to us in what i thought was an inappropriate manner. >> reporter: as a matter of routine, they already tested becky's hands at the crime scene for gunshot residue. in the interview they asked her what she was wearing at the time of the shooting. >> you were wearing the shirt and the panties? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: a tube top and panties that she still had on under new clothes, and that, says the detective, is when the
interview took a revealing turn. >> no, wait, wait, wait, no, no, no don't take it off. >> i'm going to put my shirt on. >> okay. clarify, wait until we finish. >> she grabbed the bottom of the top she was wearing, pulled it over her head, exposing her breasts and then she tossed her top to me. >> was she wearing a bra? >> no. >> you didn't even ask her for the top. she just whipped it off? >> that's right. >> so what are you thinking when she -- >> i was shocked. >> to investigators, becky's behavior was more than odd, it was suspicious. >> so you walked into the interview still giving becky the benefit of the doubt. >> absolutely. >> and you walked out of the interview thinking that there's a possibility she's going to become an official suspect. >> at that time there was definitely a possibility, yes. >> reporter: when the interview ended, detective mcneil and the other investigator went back to the house and that's where he
made a key discovery in the utility room in the clothes dryer, a gun. >> that must have been kind of a bingo moment. >> that was a big moment for all of us because not only was the gun in the driver but the gun a shell casing was in there as well, and also a glove. >> did you immediately think about the logistics of becky's story as far as where this man came in, where he exited? >> she had told us that he came into the home, shot keith, and walked directly back out the same way that he had come in. she made no mention of this man going into her laundry room, placing anything in the dryer. >> could there have been any explanation for why the gun was found in the dryer, different route than the route she had described?
>> if there was i didn't know what that was. >> reporter: investigators now suspected becky of lying about details, big and small. but they wanted more. as they analyzed evidence from the scene, a call came in from someone in becky's phone contacts nicknamed "becky's prodigy." in fact, they noticed the unusual name when they looked at her phone the night of the shooting. >> becky's prodigy lives in hugo, oklahoma. >> she's a customer. >> yes, she's a realtor broker. >> actually, becky's prodigy was a man named mark holbrook, and when he learned of keith's murder, he called up investigators. he wanted them to know he and becky had had an affair. when it ended 19 months before the shooting, he apologized to keith and promised never to see becky again, but he wanted cops to know she had been in touch with him recently and a lot. >> she still loved him and that
she would be moving so she could be near him, whether he wanted to be with her or not. >> reporter: the affair had been a reason behind becky and keith's brief split. now investigators and the ex-lover hatched a plan. record a conversation between becky and her so-called prodigy, maybe becky would give something up to him. three days after keith was shot, becky's ex dialed her up. >> becky, how are you doing? >> thank you for calling me. >> reporter: becky seemed concerned about covering up the affair. >> if you could say you knew a realtor by that name that you went to broker school with, and that's it. >> reporter: she stuck to the story about the intruder that shot keith, she had news about him. >> guy that killed keith killed himself yesterday in oklahoma city, so we're no longer in danger. >> well, that's good, that's good news. >> i know. i really think it is good.
>> we didn't have any information like that, law enforcement had not given her any information like that. >> reporter: the call rang all kinds of alarm bells for investigators, but didn't yield a lot in the way of hard evidence. but cops thought they had the goods on becky in another way. by now, they had examined that weapon found in the dryer and concluded it belonged to becky. on september 23rd, the day before keith's funeral, becky was arrested and charged with his murder. >> what was her reaction? >> she seemed shocked. she was yelling things at us. >> reporter: an open and shut case? becky's brother said far from it. >> law enforcement here let us all down because what i want is the truth. >> reporter: in court, evidence would be examined and the truth, it would turn out to be more bizarre than anyone could have guessed. coming up.
>> reporter: gary james is a friend of the bryans and prominent oklahoma defense attorney. he says the case against his client becky doesn't add up. >> you believe an innocent woman is sitting behind bars? >> sure, sure. she had a lot of bad circumstances, but i do believe somebody shot keith and ran from that house. >> reporter :her attorney says there was a rush to judgment against becky and as a result the state just didn't have the proof to back up the charge. >> i do believe that law enforcement agencies in this day and age have the ability to do a lot of things that were not done in this case. i don't believe they ever looked for anyone, which was a huge part of our defense. >> he is in a little itty bitty pickup going down my street. >> you know becky probably better than anyone else. when you listen to that 911
call, you believe becky is being truthful in. >> yeah, i really do, and it is because she was a very detailed person. she is not being panicky, she's trying to describe, she's trying to think through the process, she's very analytical. >> reporter: in early may, 19 long months after that awful night, becky's trial began. half the town that rushed to pray for keith when he was shot, just as many walked to court. >> it's been a tough year and a half, very touch. >> reporter: no cameras were allowed inside the courtroom. as the prosecution came armed with a simple, powerful narrative, becky bryan wanted out of her marriage, so she shot her husband and invented the tale of an intruder. >> he shot my husband in the head. >> reporter: the case against becky began with a slew of secrets from her personal life. they called to court two men who received explicit texts and pictures from becky days before the shooting. and this man, a former client of
becky's, came to the stand and testified they had sex the day of the crime. pam woodard says becky told her about it at the hospital the day of the shooting. >> she openly told me, i had sex with a 29-year-old client this morning, and i have a picture of his private area on my phone. that's not the word she used. and she said, and i feel kind of bad because when i got home, keith had made me a tea. and -- >> alarm bells going off? >> it was the oddest conversation. >> reporter: but pam and some of becky's other girlfriends weren't brought to court just to talk about that. >> what was the purpose of you taking the stand and what was that experience like? >> i did not want to take the stand. i was made to take the stand. i was subpoenaed by the prosecution. >> reporter: the prosecution wanted pam to testify about
becky's obsession with her ex-lover, mark holbrook, aka becky's prodigy. becky had confided her feelings for him months earlier, when becky and keith appeared to be happier than ever. >> i said, becky, you and keith seem to be really committed to making this work. and she said to me, oh, i'm a great faker. once i made my mind up about something, i'm a great faker. and my heart just kind of sank. >> reporter: the prosecution argued this was becky's motive for murder. she was fixated on her ex-lover and elaborately scheming to get him back. >> she proceeded to tell me that she was going to tell the ex-lover she was pregnant. >> so she's saying she's pregnant with his baby. >> yes. i said, becky, you're 50 plus years old. she said, 50-year-old people get pregnant all the time. i said who, where? how does this happen? i never heard of that. her reasoning had just kind of gone out the window at that
point. >> how far had she gone with the baby story? >> she wanted somebody that could provide her with positive pregnancy tests. she wanted to have a birth announcement printed up. >> birth announcement? >> a birth announcement. >> she have a name picked out? >> she had a name picked out. >> reporter: mark, that object of becky's obsession also testified, adding this potentially incriminating detail. he said that on the day keith was shot becky left him a voice mail, saying she planned to buy a house near him because she was about to inherit some money. to many in court, the implication was that becky had been expecting a life insurance payout. becky and keith's grown sons kept their feelings about their mother's guilt or innocence to themselves, but both testified briefly for the prosecution, as did a parade of investigators forensics experts who laid out the physical evidence.
there were two microscopic components detected on becky's hand. then that dryer with the gun that belonged to becky, a blank blanket was holding it, a shell casing and a glove. forensic biologist testified the glove had becky's dna on it. >> i tried to be as open minded as i could, wait and hear all the evidence, but as it went on, i was convinced she was guilty. >> reporter: the state argued it was premeditated murder by a woman who had been living a double life. becky's brother and chief supporter wasn't buying it. >> do you feel like the evidence was overwhelming against becky? >> if you want to convict her of being a slut, a greedy slut, yeah. not a murderer. coming up. questions about the evidence. >> they didn't fingerprint the dryer, didn't fingerprint the gun. how do you not fingerprint a gun?
the becky bryan that was accused of murder no longer resembled the woman she once was. the popular and perfectly groomed wife of a community leader. but if her looks had changed, her story had not. she was innocent. >> keith and becky had grown apart over time. can you condone affairs? no, but it happens. that does not make one a killer. >> are you disappointed in your sister? >> lord, no. i mean, i don't like some of the things that i heard, but she's my sister. i love her. >> reporter: becky's attorney didn't try to rehabilitate her reputation in court. the evidence of her affairs was overwhelming. but when it came to the crime,
the defense told the jury the proof was lacking. >> can you break down for us the biggest errors you feel law enforcement made in this case? >> i think tunnel vision. i think that dictated this case from the night it happened. they did no other fingerprinting on any other door. they didn't fingerprint the dryer. they didn't fingerprint the gun. how do you not fingerprint a gun? >> reporter: the defense had an explanation for how an intruder could have easily used becky's gun to commit the crime. becky usually left it in her purse, which investigators found in her car in the garage. >> do you believe that the perpetrator she spoke of came through the garage, found her gun in the car, then went in and shot keith? >> really what i thought happened, perpetrator came in, got the gun out of the vehicle.
>> reporter: what's more, that glove with becky's dna on it also had someone else's dna, but the csis couldn't narrow it down, not to keith or anyone else. >> it was actually a very large man's work glove. >> was there gunshot residue on the glove? >> yes, there was gunshot residue on the glove. >> it was the theme of the defense's case. csi investigators from the state had been so quick to zero in on becky as the suspect, they committed crime scene malpractice. >> they didn't do any contact dna on the gun, and that's a very simple process. they didn't do any gunshot residue testing on her clothes, they didn't do that on her face, which would have been very, very telling. i mean, there are just things that would have given us reasonable doubt. >> reporter: the defense told the jury investigators all but ignored any evidence that pointed to an intruder. becky's neighbor came to court with that story about the suspicious handyman he had seen
in the neighborhood, and the truck spotted speeding around the night keith was shot. >> it was something that we felt maybe the perpetrator had been canvassing the area or spying on what was going on in the neighborhood. >> reporter: and another witness testified he told police at the time he saw a truck matching the one becky described driving aggressively near the bryans the night of the shooting. >> that was the key to the case. he had a person in a matching truck speeding, driving erratically, that had come up on him, almost hit a vehicle. all within blocks. >> reporter: but the statement that witness gave investigators only surfaced a few weeks before trial. >> they didn't follow up on it. there were cameras at two different businesses right there at that intersection. >> reporter: and one additional detail to contradict the prosecution's case, becky's brother david testified that
there was an innocent explanation for the inheritance she mentioned to her ex-lover. she wasn't talking about life insurance. becky was about to inherit a diamond ring. >> it was my aunt's ring. >> was it an expensive ring? >> very expensive. two full carats. appraisal at one time was $19,000, some years earlier. so obviously had a little more value. >> reporter: more than enough reasonable doubt said the defense. but would a jury agree? the wait for a verdict began. >> i was so nervous waiting for it, my hands were shaking. >> i was holding out hope that the jury would recognize the mistakes that were made and understand that because of those mistakes we may never know who really did it. >> reporter: afternoon turned to evening and then the news. the jury was back. >> very nervous, very anxious. my thoughts were with keith's family.
>> reporter: the verdict, guilty of first degree murder. >> and then when he read guilty, i really didn't feel a whole lot. i didn't feel happy. >> how was your first meeting with becky after her conviction? >> she cried, said she couldn't believe it. >> what has becky told you? >> that she didn't do it. but i still don't know the truth. there are either one or two people on the face of this earth that knows the truth. if becky did it, she's the only one that knows. if somebody else did it, she knows it and that person knows it. if one of those two people come forward and say i did it, then we'll know the truth. other than that -- >> reporter: on july 9th, becky was sentenced as the jury had recommended to life in prison without parole. for keith's friends, the trial and its conclusion were only one sort of an ending, tangible reminders of their friend and
hero live on, especially in the fire department keith led for so many years. >> what is life like now without your friend, without your chief, without keith? >> we still talk about him, some of the funny things he did. he's a part of our history here now and always will be, and we miss him. >> if keith was listening, what would you say to keith? >> that i know he's in a great place, and keith would tell us to forgive becky, not to say that she doesn't have to be held accountable and that she doesn't have to suffer consequences because that's a given and that's the right thing, but keith would actually want us to forgive becky. and i know that. and i would just tell keith, well done. your time on earth here was well done. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us.
breaking news this morning, government by crisis, we are one step closer to a government shutdown, so how will it end? >> our message to congress is this, do not shut down the government. do not shut down the economy. pass a budget on time, pay our bills on time. >> all republicans are asking tonight is give the nation a year to study a 2500 page bill that even speaker nancy pelosi had not a clue what was in it. >> this morning, the fight and the politics behind the standoff, an exclusive interview with republican senator cruz of texas. he has elevated the fight to new levels. >> i intend to fight on the obama care until i am no longer able to stand. >> where does his fight go from
here? plus, our political roundtable, joining me msnbc's chris matthews, former governor, john huntsman, and democratic strategist, dee dee meyers, is the nuclear disarmament deal now possible? i'm david gregory, for "meet the press," on sunday, september 29th. >> from nbc news in washington, this world's longest running television program, this is "meet the press." >> and good morning, the fast-moving developments, last night the house of representatives voted to delay president obama's health care law as part of an emergency spending, the president promises
to veto, the vote brings the country a step closer to a government shutdown, kelly o'donnell has more. >> reporter: well, good morning, david you might expect there was action since the government was threatening to shut down tomorrow. but that is not happening, congress is on pause, after working until the wee hours they paid their message clear, but the senate tells me they are rejecting that flatly. that comes tomorrow. so today, when the country is waiting for an answer, congress is on hold. here is where we stand, this is what the house has done, they are passing funding to keep the government open and operating but with conditions to delay the president's health care law by a year, and to repeal a medical device tax paid by manufacturers for things like pacemakers or